The opening of the exhibitions by Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen, Leena Illukka ja Silja Puranen (Hall 1) and Ida Nisonen (Hall 2) takes place at HAA Gallery on June 12th, 2024!
Both the exhibitions are on display from 13 June to 7 July, 2024. You are warmly welcome!
Kuvassa vasemmalta oikealle Silja Purasen ja Ida Nisosen teoskuvat.
Image: Silja Puranen: Talvipuutarha (left) & Ida Nisonen: Niagara Falls (right)
Leena Illukka, Silja Puranen and Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen: Subtle shifts (Hall 1)
”Subtle shifts” is the thirteenth joint exhibition of a group of three visual artists. Comprising textile works and video installations, the exhibition comments on the changes occurring in society and the environment. Among the topics under examination are man’s relationship with nature, culture, and other people. The artist group has had joint exhibitions since 2018.
In Leena Illukka’s ”Kir(j)otut Säännöt” series, the past and present converge. The foundation of the pieces is recycled needlepoint works, which Illukka dismantles, repairs, combines, as well as hand-embroiders over the original image. This way, the unknown handiwork and Illukka’s embroidery merge into a new narrative. These tragicomic works blend traditional embroidery with the iconic imagery of video games. The pieces explore themes of humanity and the environment. For example, in the ”Dream Lover” series, the lovelorn Donkey Kong from video games struggles in traditional floral-themed needlework.
Silja Puranen’s ”Orangerie” video installation explores the human-nature relationship and its impact on the environment. The starting point of the work is the excessive use of disposable plastics and the attempt to replace nature with artificial imitations. In the piece, imitating the original repeats itself on different levels – as plastic flower imitations, and as digital animations imitating these. The work also reflects the human need to look for beauty even in a dystopian environment. The visual inspiration for the artworks is the aesthetics produced by plastic, kitsch, camp, and a do-it-yourself attitude.
In her ”Strange Softness” series, Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen gently and humorously addresses time, change, aging, and life with grandchildren. Her textile works draw influences from surrealism and everyday life, where subtle shifts are constantly occurring. The embrace of The Chair with Boobs slumps and stretches, yet the softness provides comfort. Tone paper cutouts are part of the ”Snapshots” series, based on quickly passing moments captured with a mobile phone camera.
The exhibition has been supported by the Art Promotion Centre Finland and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Leena Illukka (b. 1962) is a visual artist whose primary technique is embroidery, which she employs in sculpture, photography, and complex textile series. ”For me hand embroidery is a process, during which the artwork unfolds piece by piece”. Illukka graduated as a visual artist from the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts and completed a Master of Culture and Arts degree at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences. In 2023, she was granted a state supplementary artist pension. Illukka’s works are featured in domestic and international museums and collections.…/leena-tuulikki-illukka
In the center of Silja Puranen’s (b. 1961) works lies a critical examination of the phenomena of the surrounding reality. In her career she has worked with textiles and digital photography, as well as video and digital animation, among other mediums. Puranen graduated as a visual artist from the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts and obtained a Master of Arts degree from Aalto University. Her works are featured in numerous domestic and international museums and collections. In 2009, Puranen received the Nordic Award in Textiles, the largest textile art prize in the Nordic countries. In 2023, she was granted a state supplementary artist pension.
Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen (b. 1957) is a textile and visual artist who reflects myths and themes of womanhood. She cuts paper, repurposes materials to create reliefs, sews costume sculptures from candy wrappers, and crafts soft objects from fabric. Vesanen-Laukkanen holds a Master of Arts degree from UIAH. She was awarded the title of Ornamo’s Artist of the Year in 2008, and in 2023, she was granted a state supplementary artist pension. Her works are featured in domestic and international museums and collections.
Ida Nisonen: No Man’s Island – The Woman Who Became an Island (Hall 2)
”No Man’s Island – The Woman Who Became an Island” serves as Ida Nisonen’s working title for an ongoing multidisciplinary project and as the exhibition title at HAA Gallery. Exploring themes of femininity, motherhood, creativity, and identity, exhibition delves into performances, object installations, and photography. Central to the artworks is the dialogue between the female body and various materials, crafting symbolism therein. Often rooted in performative self-portraiture, works span across photography, videography, and live performances.
In the opening performance ”Stoned”, the Woman embarks on a journey from Helsinki’s Market Square to Suomenlinna Island, carrying stones akin to her children, contemplating motherhood as a journey and spiritual growth.
Stones, embodied in video performances and object installations, dominate the gallery space. Here, the Woman’s body encounters the rough and cold surfaces of stones juxtaposed with the warm hues of copper, resembling rituals or familiar everyday actions.
”No Man’s Island – The Woman Who Became an Island” is inspired by the American pioneer and avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren’s (1917–1961) film ”At Land” (1943). In this black-and-white silent film, a Woman washes ashore and embarks on a peculiar exploration of a continent inhabited by men. Through rugged landscapes and steep cliffs, the Woman’s journey in the film leads her from the wild nature to the ”civilized” world predefined by patriarchy.
The exhibition’s title ”No Man’s Island – The Woman Who Became an Island” symbolizes the strength and independence of women. It signifies an internal transformation and growth towards becoming a self-sufficient and autonomous individual. The title also alludes to the absence of patriarchal power, providing a space where femininity can thrive without external constraints. Similar to Deren’s film, the exhibition seeks the Woman’s own interpretation of reality.
Ida Nisonen, Motherartist (b. 1981 in Kangasala), is a multimedia artist, art educator, and mother of three children. She lives and works in Kerava. Graduating as a photographer from Lahti University of Applied Sciences’ Institute of Design in 2010 and obtaining a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Jyväskylä in 2020, Nisonen’s studies in feminist philosophy significantly influence her artistic practice.
Regularly exhibiting both nationally and internationally, her recent exhibition at Sipoo Pesula Gallery titled Ylläpito/Maintenance explored the significance of domestic work and maintenance from the perspectives of motherhood and creativity. The project resulted in a Manifesto available on the artist’s website

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